One of the hurdles for Customer Experience Consultants like us is proving the business case for bringing us on board. Leaders often think that if they talk about being customer-centric at their all hands meetings, their companies will automatically transform into customer-led organizations.
I wish cultural and operational transformations were that easy! Unfortunately, it takes much more to create seamless customer experiences. It takes a dedicated team (or consultants like us). It takes a significant investment in technology, training, and process redesign. Since technology tends to be the most expensive investment, today we are going to share our vision about facial recognition and what it can do for your customers and employees.
Before we go into the design conversation, let’s first describe what facial recognition means to The Petrova Experience. Facial recognition is one of the most powerful customer experience tools in the hands of today’s businesses.
The Guest Experience Facial Recognition Value Prop
Think of facial recognition as a personalized master key for your customers to go through the experience journey you have mapped for them.
Let’s take the example of a hotel guest experience. By implementing facial recognition in your facilities, you can enable your guests to open the hotel front door; pay their bill; open their room door; turn on the TV with the preset setting they created during their last stay; and access Business Center amenities. You can also give access to the elevator and limit floor access to the one with your guest’s room.
On the operations side, you can get your staff to clock in and out without touching anything. You can also allocate your people across the floor in a more optimal way since, with facial recognition, you are able to see where your people are. Last, but not least, the way that facial recognition works allows your facility to be much safer. As a result, you will be able to recognize (and alert) unwanted guests in the hotel premises immediately.
The Train (station) Experience
Now let’s say you are the MTA in New York City. What can facial recognition do for your commuters and frontline employees? New Yorkers can enter the subway in seconds without touching anything. They can also be allotted in the cars in a safe and healthy manner.
See, the same technology can also count people and issue a notification when you have reached capacity in a space. This helps you know, at all times, how many people are in each car.
MTA workers can gain access to tracks using their faces. This makes the tracks much safer for everyone. There will be no more delays on the train “due to police investigation” (or at the least, these delays would happen with less frequency and for shorter duration), since the police will be able to find an intruder without stopping the trains to check each car.
The Post-COVID Health and Safety Experience
Facial recognition and similar cutting edge technologies now allow us to take employee and visitor temperatures. This is particularly useful as regions move forward in their reopening plans.
Make sure, though, that when it comes to using technology for this purpose, that you design a complete process that includes a clear plan for what happens if/when someone has an elevated temperature. Otherwise, you risk delivering a bad customer experience instead of a vital service.
Facial Recognition Privacy and Civil Rights Cautionary Note
It would be irresponsible not to mention a few things we all need to be looking out for as we explore facial recognition for our customers.
First, we must make sure we do not invade anyone’s privacy. How do we do this? With a registration process that is designed well and communicated clearly. What do we mean by that?
It’s simple. You should explain to your customers what are the benefits of facial recognition to them, and what they will be missing out on if they opt out.
Second, please do not track people for the sake of tracking. Define your use case (and value to all stakeholders). Then design a system to deliver that. As we have said, facial recognition is a tool in your customer experience toolbox. Nothing more, nothing less.
As with all tools, it comes down to how you use facial recognition to benefit the experience of your customers, and employees, and your business.